Always Carried Energy
As a Physician
Name: Dr. Alyssa Cole
Career: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician (Subspecialty: Cancer Rehabilitation)
Instagram account: @doctor.cole
My name is Dr. Alyssa Cole, I am a board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician sub-specialized in Cancer Rehabilitation, helping to optimize cancer patients’ medical care, functionality, and quality of life. For me, movement is medicine. To inspire others both in and outside of healthcare, I started my social media account @doctor.cole as well as my blog Daily Dose of Vita (dailydoseofvita.blogspot.com). Check these out for lifestyle, career, health, and food tips. I have a strong passion for both the arts and sciences, which led me to earn a dual degree in Classics and Biology, followed by my DO medical degree (it’s called the art of medicine after all), and most recently my MBA. A couple years ago, I jumped on the pandemic puppy bandwagon and rescued my Aussie mix Westley, named after my favorite character from the movie The Princess Bride (you can follow him @dogtor.westley).And a fun fact about me is that I competed for Miss America state and local pageants to help pay for medical school. I strive to embody the four points of the crown every day through service, style, success, and scholarship, and am excited to have discovered VIVAIA’s sustainable efforts to preserve both fashion and the future.
#colesetters (like goal setters!)
I love sharing this picture because it represents us as clinicians from all over the world, fluent in several different languages, and united in our universal commitment to healthcare. We are practicing physicians, loving daughters, caring sisters, working mothers, devoted wives, and giving friends. We stand for the success and strength of generations of women who fought for our rights to equality, working alongside men, and rising above stereotypes.
The image came out around the same time as the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) article, “Comparison of Hospital Mortality and Readmission Rates for Medicare Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians,” which shows patients treated by female physicians have better outcomes than male physicians (Tsugawa et al, 2017).
While I know many well-trained, competent male physicians, it is a powerful article that affirms the need for women in medicine. Despite this, women are still only making around 80 cents to the dollar when compared to men. My hope is that the future will bring gender equity, equality, and empowerment to all of us. After all, the future is female.
Tsugawa Y, Jena AB, Figueroa JF, Orav EJ, Blumenthal DM, Jha AK. Comparison of Hospital Mortality and Readmission Rates for Medicare Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians. JAMA Intern Med.2017;177(2):206–213. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7875
Growing up, I used to tell my parents I was going to be a triple threat: an actress, singer, and dancer. I like to think I fulfilled many of those dreams and more, from blogging and social media to competing in Miss America pageants and talent shows. But I finally found my passion for working in healthcare.
As much as I love STEM fields, I have never been able to separate art from science. I am a strong advocate for STEAM, adding arts to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There is no better profession than medicine to exemplify the need to integrate one with the other. It was Michelangelo who broke into crypts in order to study the anatomy of the human body. And the discovery of DNA’s structure came from Watson and Crick’s stick and ball model sculpture thanks to the woman behind it all, Rosalind Franklin, who captured the original image through X-ray crystallography.
Having earned a dual-degree in Classics (the study of Greek and Roman history, cultures, language, and mythology) and Biology, I am conditioned in using my “left brain,” described as logical, analytical, and objective in conjunction with my “right brain,” or the intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective side. This helped me not only in learning the medical terminology, the majority of which is Greek and Latin in etiology but also in patient care and being able to think outside the box. The path to becoming a doctor is not easy but it is worth it. Every day I get to meet new people, learn about different cultures, and listen to patients’ stories while improving their quality of life. My goal in writing this is to show you that choosing your future career should not limit you but rather inspire you to be creative, to explore, to grow, and to succeed. Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I was a cheerleader throughout high school and feel like I have carried that energy and motivation throughout my career as a physician. I love encouraging my patients to challenge themselves, believe in themselves, and exceed their expectations. I remember as a medical student walking into the gym and seeing one of my patients who needed an assistant on either side to help him stand. He saw me across the room and asked, “Do you want to dance?” I was so inspired by the fact that he was able to look beyond his balance and gait difficulties and instead focus on the goal of dancing as a means of overcoming his obstacles. That’s when I knew I had found the right specialty.
Life with Westley has been a series of adventures since the moment I picked him up from the rescue. When his “gotcha day” arrived, I was so focused on getting everything ready, I didn’t even realize I dropped my apartment keys on the ground before driving away. We got home, it was the dead of winter, and I remember my fingers freezing as I frantically searched for the keys…to no avail. My friend held Westley inside her coat to keep him warm. He was only about 12 lbs and he was shaking. I felt like I had failed at being a dog mom my very first day. But then the doorman let us in with a spare key and as soon as I introduced Westley to his new home, he immediately marked his territory. My friend and I burst out laughing. I realized nothing could have prepared me for being a dog mom and I just have to take everything in stride. He taught me to live in the present and embrace our strengths as well as our flaws.
Westley is as much a cheerleader as I am, especially in the morning. He is without fail a big ball of energy, so much so, many doubted he could be properly trained. However, after some extra puppy classes, Westley soon proved even our dog trainer wrong. He has learned not only the basics like sit, down, stay, and come but also advanced tricks like roll over, bow, fetch his leash or a specific toy, put away his toys, and so much more. We are currently working on speak buttons and so far, he has learned to say “Play” – his favorite (and only) word. His intelligence and determination (even if it is food motivated) taught me not to let anyone tell you that you cannot do something; be the “dogtor” of proving them wrong.
Speaking of his intelligence, he truly is a dog after my own heart because he, like his mom, knows the importance of respecting shoes. While he has chewed almost everything else I own, he has not once chewed a pair of shoes.
I do my best to live sustainably, from recycling and reusing items to renting rather than buying clothes so I can keep up with trends while saving both money and the environment. I work to support companies like VIVAIA, that are eco-conscious. There is no Planet B, which means we must do everything in our power to protect our homes.
Back to shoes
1. What’s your suggestion for our discount program for teachers, students, medical professionals & military? Which group do you think we should add? why?
As a physician, I think medical professionals should be included in the discount program since we are on our feet all day and are always looking for comfortable footwear.
2. Which style of shoes will you pick while you are working? why?
My favorite styles of VIVAIA include the pointed flats and the heeled boots because they are professional, stylish, comfortable, and fun. I love that I can wear them both in and outside of my clinic and whenever my coworkers or patients ask about them, it becomes a great conversation starter because many are surprised to learn how sustainable they are and want a pair for themselves.
3. What factors do you consider the most when purchasing shoes and why?
I take into account comfort, style, versatility and sustainability the most. Price, lifetime wearability, fit, and return policy are also considered.
4. How’s your understanding of fashion and eco-fashion?
I value the creativity that goes into fashion designs, often blending technology and innovation. Having attended New York Fashion Week, Philadelphia Fashion Week, and Richmond Fashion Week in the past, I can see a theme of incorporating recycled material with environmentally conscious choices that is important for the future of our planet. I prefer timeless classics to fast fashion and trends and look for similar items when building my wardrobe. I see the same values hold true when it comes to VIVAIA’s fashion goals and business platform.
5. What does a nice pair of shoes mean to you?
A nice pair of shoes means feeling like I can walk the red carpet just as easily as I can walk my dog while looking red carpet worthy for either occasion
6. If you could describe yourself as a shoe, which type of shoe would it be?
If I were a shoe, I would definitely be a sandal, likely with rhinestones because I love to shine while still feeling grounded and close to the earth.
7. Where have you been by wearing VIVAIA? How was it? Anything particular feels from our shoes? Just share your feelings with us. What’s the biggest difference compared to other shoes?
I have been wearing my VIVAIA shoes in and outside of work, running errands, walking my dog, going out with friends, or hitting up a night on the town. The boots are my favorite because they feel like a hug for my feet, especially as the cold weather is upon us.